Immunize or go to jail!

Prince George County, Maryland has a unique way to deal with the ever increasing health issue caused by parents who do not vaccinate their children: fines or up to 10 days in jail!

Letters were sent out to the parents of children in their school system advising them that records indicated their kids were not vaccinated. They were also informed of the consequences for failing to provide an appropriately signed waiver for their child or getting their kids immunized. Good for them. It’s about time someone took “this bull by the horns!”

I clearly remember how ill some of those childhood diseases made me, my brothers and sisters, and my friends. I lost complete hearing in one of my ears from one, the mumps. There were also preventable deaths caused by the diseases and/or the treatments for the illnesses, such as Reyes Syndrome!

Every year there would be almost epidemic numbers of kids with measles, mumps, and chicken pox. We had six kids in my family. Each of these diseases went through our family like the spread of wildfires. One form of measles usually only hit once like the other two illnesses. But, one could be gotten again! Polio affected huge numbers of kids. Often death occurred. When death didn’t occur, kids who survived were often left crippled for life and wearing leg braces, in wheel chairs, or spent the remainder of their lives in “Iron Lungs.” President Franklin Roosevelt probably is one of the more familiar polio victims of that era!

But the vaccinations also prevented such deadly and epidemic diseases as small pox, which could easily kill thousands or millions. Small pox has been virtually eliminated. All this resulted from the aggressive and required vaccination programs in America. Even meningitis and illnesses caused by that virus are now treated with vaccinations.

Sadly, there have been some deaths and other complications for a very small percentage of children. Such an occurrence is always extremely hard to handle. For the parents, it is devastating. However, easily millions of lives have been saved by these vaccinations.

In the last ten years, maybe a little, longer I have seen reports and had first hand knowledge of kids with some of these long eradicated diseases in our local schools. This is due to two causes. One there is a huge influx of illegal aliens in our area. Most are not vaccinated. The second reason is many parents now don’t remember what it was like before the vaccinations when so many kids were hit with these diseases. They were born after their eradication. Since “no one” gets these illness any more, they don’t see a need for the vaccinations.

Money is not an issue. Health departments provide free shots for kids. Normal parental fears of side effects are an issue every parent faces, especially with the first child. I watched my son for hours for one of the “bad” things that could happen! While I understand parental fears, that is not a reason to allow children to go un-vaccinated. I, personally, don’t feel religious reasons are a good reason for failure to vaccinate kids because those children still pose a health threat to other kids.

Of course, the “rights” groups are jumping on the band wagon over Prince George’s new policy. Those with the means are bringing legal counsel. I truly hope that the courts will uphold this policy and more counties and localities will follow their lead. Since the county implemented this policy, there are now only 939 kids not vaccinated. While the county says this is a greatly reduced number, it is far too high for me.

There are over 11,000,000 million illegal aliens in America right now. That number is growing. Add to that parents who feel there is no longer a reason for the shots and we have an potentially deadly situation on our hands. While we have vaccinations for kids that need them, drug companies do not keep as large a supply on hand as they used to. They don’t make any money off vaccinations.

We are not prepared to deal with a national epidemic of any of these diseases. Recent problems with small pox vaccinations for our troops are an excellent example of what is in store for us and many other advanced cultures. Small pox was eradicated. But recently, it has reared its ugly head again. Our government was left scurrying around to find a way to mass produce a safe vaccine to give our troops. Anthrax is another deadly disease that the troops needed to be protected against.

Jonas Salk, who developed the polio treatment, and several of his colleagues, warned the other doctors on the committee he worked with researching and developing vaccines for these childhood diseases. He said at the time, we must not become complacent about these vaccinations. He also warned that at a point in time in the future the viruses causing these diseases would mutate and make present vaccinations ineffective. He and his “band of few” were scoffed at by the rest of the doctors involved in the program. Sadly, he and his colleagues who supported him in this belief were proven right!

Immunization research is a constant, costly, and ever evolving field. Control of deadly diseases requires vigilance and vision, not politics and insurance companies. It also requires cooperation and support from the public and local officials. That’s why I hope more localities adopt similar methods to induce parents to vaccinate their kids.


~ by devildog6771 on November 18, 2007.

7 Responses to “Immunize or go to jail!”

  1. Measles, mumps, and chicken pox can cause many problems. First off, there are two types of measles. One you got once. The other you could get as often as you are infected. All three are more dangerous as you are older. I believe at least one, and maybe two of these can make men sterile.

    The chicken pox virus causes shingles, a very painful illness. My daughter had the chicken pox. As a teen, she got shingles. Her case was mild. Believe me when I say she suffered! Unfortunately she can have them again, the chicken pox virus lies dormant in her body.

    Mumps cause hearing can cause hearing loss:

    “Adults may suffer from complications. These are inflammation of the testicles, pancreas and joints, and sometimes meningitis. If none of these are present paracetamol tablets should also be used for adults. Aspirin is sometimes more effective, but care must be taken as this can cause inflammation of the stomach lining…”

    “Milder forms of encephalitis can follow or accompany common childhood illnesses, including measles, mumps, chickenpox, rubella (German measles), and mononucleosis. Viruses like chickenpox spread mostly via the fluids of the nose and throat, usually during a cough or sneeze.

    Encephalitis cannot be prevented except to try to prevent the illnesses that may lead to it. Encephalitis that may be seen with common childhood illnesses like measles, mumps, and chickenpox can be largely prevented through proper immunization. Have your child immunized according to the immunization schedule recommended by your child’s doctor. Children should also avoid contact with anyone who already has encephalitis….Kids Health.”

    “Scotland’s chief medical officer, Dr Mac Armstrong, said: “Measles, mumps and rubella are very serious illnesses which can severely impair sight and hearing and can be fatal. It is vitally important that parents ensure their children are fully protected against these serious diseases…”

    “Mumps: Complications of the disease are rare, but they are potentially serious. They include:

    Aseptic meningitis. Illness characterized by headache, fever and inflammation of the lining of the brain that is not caused by bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tests of fluid in the brain and spinal cord indicate that 50 to 60 percent of mumps patients develop aseptic meningitis, but most do not experience symptoms. Of that group, up to 15 percent of patients develop symptoms. Patients usually recover within several days.

    Testicular inflammation (orchitis). According to the CDC, this occurs in up to 50 percent of males who have reached puberty. Signs and symptoms include testicular swelling, tenderness, nausea, vomiting and fever. Some men may develop testicular atrophy, but sterility rarely occurs as a result of this condition.

    Ovarian inflammation (oophoritis). This occurs in 5 percent of females who have reached puberty but does not affect fertility, according to the CDC.

    Pancreatitis. A disease that causes swelling of the pancreas. It is rare, but symptoms include pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting.

    Deafness. According to the CDC, deafness occurs in approximately 1 in 20,000 cases of mumps. Onset is usually sudden and results in permanent hearing impairment.

    Miscarriage. Pregnant women who develop mumps during the first trimester of pregnancy have a greater chance of miscarriage (spontaneous termination of pregnancy).

    In some rare cases, mumps causes inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), breasts (mastitis) or spinal cord (myelitis). Other complications of mumps that are even rarer include arthralgia (pain in the joints), arthritis (inflammation of the joints) and nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys). An average of one death from mumps per year was reported between 1980 through 1999, according to the CDC…..iVillage Total Health.”

    “Measles: However, the complications of the illness can be serious and potentially fatal. Between 6 and 20 percent of people with measles develop an ear infection, diarrhea or pneumonia. One out of every 1,000 people with measles develops inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and about one out of every 1,000 people with measles dies, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Other complications may include:

    Bronchitis, laryngitis or croup. Measles may lead to laryngitis (inflammation of the voice box), bronchitis (inflammation of the inner walls that line the main air passages to the lungs) or croup (a disease of infants and young children marked by harsh coughing and fever).

    Pregnancy problems. Measles can cause miscarriage (spontaneous termination of pregnancy), premature labor or babies with low birth weight.

    Myocarditis. Measles can cause this rare and potentially life-threatening inflammation of the cardiac muscle.

    Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Measles may lead to a decrease in platelets, the type of blood cells needed for blood clotting.

    Before a measles vaccine was first licensed in the United States in 1963, measles was considered a part of childhood and almost everyone developed the disease. Although the vaccine has reduced the number of measles cases in the United States by greater than 99 percent, it is still considered a serious health problem, according to the CDC.

    Between 1989 and 1991, there was a measles epidemic in the United States among children who did not receive the vaccine or received only one dose of it. ….i Village Total Health.”

    “Chickenpox: Occasionally, serious complications result from chickenpox infections. As noted earlier, the risk of complications increases with age and in those with compromised immune systems (e.g., people who have undergone transplants, those with Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

    The most common complication of chickenpox in healthy children under 5 years of age is bacterial infection (e.g., impetigo, cellulitis) due to frequent scratching of the lesions. Other potential (though rare) complications include:

    Varicella-pneumonia. The spread of the varicella virus in the bloodstream to the lungs may cause varicella-pneumonia in some patients.

    Necrotizing fascitis. A serious, painful infection of the membranes (fascia) that cover one or more muscles that may spread quickly to other parts of the body. Necrotizing fascitis is one of the most serious chickenpox complications.

    Guillain-Barre syndrome. A disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system.

    Meningoencephalitis. Inflammation of the brain, spinal cord and the protective membranes that cover each respective area (meninges).

    Reye’s syndrome. A rare, often fatal pediatric disorder characterized by vital organ damage (e.g., kidney, liver) that develops after chickenpox or other viral infections. Reye’s syndrome is associated with the use of aspirin in children.

    Arthritis. A disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the joints, causing pain and inflammation.

    Neurologic complications. Chickenpox may rarely cause various temporary neurological disorders (e.g., acute cerebellar ataxia).

    Liver problems. Serious complications involving the liver that rarely occur from chickenpox infection (e.g., hepatitis).

    Pregnant women who are exposed to chickenpox during the first trimester may give a form of the disease to their fetus (fetal varicella). This may lead to problems with fetal development and other serious complications (e.g., low birth weight). Possible birth defects include shortening and scarring of the limbs, cataracts (a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy), small head size, abnormal brain development and mental retardation.

    Chickenpox infections experienced during the final three weeks of pregnancy may cause the infant to be born with symptoms of the disease (e.g., rash, fever). However, the administration of chickenpox antibodies (e.g. acyclovir, varicella zoster immune globulin) within 24 hours following exposure to VZV is often effective at preventing chickenpox and related complications from occurring.

    In some cases, people who have had chickenpox during childhood get a related adulthood disease called shingles (herpes zoster). Following a chickenpox infection, there may be remnants of varicella-zoster in nerve cells that reactivate themselves years later as shingles; a disease characterized by brief outbreaks of painful blisters. In addition, shingles may lead to postherpetic neuralgia, a condition where the pain of shingles remains long after the blisters go away……i Village Total Health.”

    As you can see, mumps, chickenpox, and measles are far more serious than most people realize!

  2. Oh, by the way, there are at least two kids (leukemia patients) whose lives were extended (don’t know if they are still alive, as this was at least 15 years ago) because I had chicken pox as a kid. I still had the antibodies in my system nearly 35 years after having the disease, and they needed them. This is not a good argument against immunizations, but an interesting note on unanticipated effects.

  3. Here I go again, being contraary – I will start with a level of overall agreement, but would look at options a bit. Polio and Smallpox can both be fatal, and both have a high incidence of doing permanent damage to the victim. For both of these, I would agree with mandatory immunization. Freedom of religion does not constitute licenst to put others at risk. But how about measles and mumps and chicken pox? Immunizations for these diseases were not available when I was a child. Despite this, I do not know anyone who has any lasting effects from these diseases, despite a pretty much universal infection rate (your post is the first I have heard of someone being permanently affected outside of statistics.) Also, there is a low, but statically significant chance of suffering consequences from taking the vaccine. Add to that (this is my layman understanding here, and I could be misinformed) that immunizations wear off after some time. So, if a child is immunized against the measles, he is subject to getting themas an adult, the point at which measles increases the risk of permanent damage by orders of magnitude. If the child gets measles as a child, the risk is low, and the immunity is virtually permanent. Shouldn’t the parents have the option of making a (hopefully) informed decision in cases like this?

  4. True, but I don’t think people think of it that way1 I truly think they have a false sense of security that, oh well, people don’t get that any more so I’m not getting my child those shots. The side effects can be dangerous. A very dangerous thing indeed!

  5. what parent WOULDNT immunize theier child. It’s not just illegal immigrants runningaround with preventable diseases – lets not forget that an american traipsed around Europe with TB. It’s dumb to not immunize your child. It’s negligent.

  6. Yes, I agree. I too am against the socialists movement. No good will come of it. Socialized medicine is a failure everywhere it has been implemented. But, every time I think back to before immunization, I shudder!

  7. I was angry about this situation, socialism and all – but after reading your post, I’ve rethought my position. I can appreciate parents concerns about some shots, but with all the illegals running around, forcing prevention of a major outbreak may be the only way until we get a handle on the illegal problem.

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